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A Melting Pot of Cultures
We have created a melting pot of cultures that has caused us a bit of confusion with names. How do we go about appropriately addressing different groups of people without offending anyone? Cultural mores and customs dictate certain names- other times we have to just put ourselves out there and hope no one gets offended if we step on a few toes.
Afro-Americans, African-American and Blacks have certainly gone through the most name changes, although Hispanics aren't far behind. Hispanics have been Latinos, Chicanos, American-Mexicans, Colombians, Hondurans, etc., etc...
Assimilation has been a big issue in society in the last years. Some groups are fighting to retain as much of their culture as possible while integrating their families, jobs, businesses and interests to the United States. To some extent, non-assimilation is an impossibility. Adjusting to the surroundings, rules and customs is a responsibility that each of us has as citizens of our country.
One issue currently weighing heavily on the minds of Americans is the War on Terror. Concerns run the gamut from the obvious issues of economics to safety of our soldiers and civilians in foreign countries, even questions of whose war are we really fighting? However, another significant concern is the effect that this war is having on Americans of Middle Eastern decent.
During the initial months after 9-11 and the destruction of the Twin Towers, many people were mistreated simply because they looked similar the visions in the media of Middle Easterners. Wearing a jilbab or having caramel colored skin or even owning a business typically owned by Middle Easterners caused many Americans to be persecuted because of their race.
Hispanics are beginning to fight back against racism directed at various Latin and Hispanic groups in many places around the United States just as Blacks did in the 1960's. Because there has been such an enormous media focus on illegal Mexicans and undocumented workers, many uneducated and insensitive Americans have directed their misplaced anger at all people who speak Spanish.
While many people from other cultures appear to be fighting assimilation by bringing their languages, religions, foods and lifestyles along with them to the United States, the real fact of the matter is they are fighting loosing their own cultures. If they don't bring along with them what they can, they run the risk of not having roots to teach their children about and loosing the benefits of their former cultures.
Without a tremendous re-education and the unlikely acceptance of all races, religions and skin colors, it is unlikely that we will suddenly have a change of heart and abruptly begin accepting people of other skin colors, people who dress differently than ourselves and people who worship another God than we do.
The situation sounds terribly bleak and not particularly hopeful but that's not entirely the truth. We currently have more multi-international restaurants that ever before, over 28 million Americans speak a language other than English in their homes, and the US census is reporting an increase in all minority owned businesses over the last 5 years.
As these types of trends continue, we are assimilating... the US is becoming an even bigger melting pot with plenty of room for all.